MONTROSE – A preliminary report released by the National Transportation Safety Board suggests the small Cessna T210M airplane that crashed near Cedaredge on Nov. 19 might have broken up in mid-air, killing the pilot.
On Nov. 19, at approximately 6:11 p.m., Delta County 911 dispatchers received multiple calls about a small aircraft going down on private property on Surface Creek Road, north of Cedaredge. First responders found the aircraft "fully engulfed" in flames, according to reports.
The pilot was identified as Tari Lawrence Taricco, 57, of Rancho Palos Verde, Calif., who had taken off from Zamperini Field Airport in Torrance, Calif. at 2:48 p.m. for the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport.
According to the NTSB, Taricco’s airplane was registered to and operated by Montana National Incorporated; . "night conditions existed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed prior to departure.
"On-site wreckage examination revealed a post-impact fire had consumed a majority of the airplane. Several components of the airplane were found separated from the main wreckage. The largest of these components, a 15-foot outboard section of the left wing, was found about 1,450-feet to the northwest of the main wreckage. The airplane was retained for further examination," the report said.
According to the report, the airplane was inbound to Aspen at 13,500 feet Mean Sea Level, with the pilot receiving Visual Flight Rules flight following services from Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center. The pilot requested an Instrument Flight Rules clearance about 55 miles southwest of Aspen, with the controller issuing an IFR clearance to Aspen at 15,000 feet MSL and requesting that the pilot transmit flight plan information.
"While the pilot was transmitting the requested flight plan information, the controller observed on the radar screen that the airplane made a left turn away from the assigned clearance. When the controller inquired as to the airplane's heading, the pilot stated that his autopilot had disconnected. The controller subsequently issued the pilot a heading back towards KASE [Aspen], which the pilot accepted. The airplane continued to turn left and made a rapid descent. Both radar and radio contact were subsequently lost," the report said.
The NTSB said a weather observation station at Blake Field Airport in Delta, located about 14 miles southwest of the accident site, reported visibility at 10 miles, with broken clouds at 5,000 feet Above Ground Level, overcast clouds at 6,500 feet AGL, temperature 7 degrees Celsius (or 44 degrees Fahrenheit) and the dew point was negative 2 degrees Celsius, or 28 degrees Fahrenheit.
According to Airmen's Meteorological Information advisory, moderate turbulence and icing was active in the area of the accident and according to radio traffic light rain was falling in the area of the accident.
A small Emergency Locator Transmitter signal was received close to the Flat Tops Wilderness Area, north of the crash site.